A submission by Queensland’s six bishops calling for the protection of human dignity is among hundreds received by a parliamentary inquiry considering end-of-life issues. Source: The Catholic Leader.
“A law that would allow direct intentional killing (“voluntary assisted dying”), even if only under strict circumstances, opens the way to a culture in which life is disposable,” the bishops said in a joint submission on behalf of the Church.
“In such a society, even the provision of medical care can become subjected to a rationalisation of the worthiness of a particular person to receive it.”
More than 300 documents were lodged before the cut-off date of April 15, as the Queensland Government attempts to gauge the level of support for euthanasia, part of a larger consideration of aged care, end-of-life and palliative care.
The bishops said legalising intentional direct killing of oneself or another undermined human freedom when a person was presented with a false choice between dying horribly and killing themselves.
“It undermines freedom because the choice offered is a false one,” they said. “There is ample evidence that high-quality palliative care means that death need not be a horrible experience. If we are not providing high-quality aged care and palliative care, then we should make every effort do so.”
The bishops said some people might argue against using the word “kill” because it was morally charged. “We disagree: ‘murder’ is morally charged; ‘kill’ is not. Killing is a clear descriptive verb,” they said.
Of the dozens of submissions arguing against change, many said better palliative care options would rule out the need for assisted suicide laws.
The inquiry will start public hearings in May, starting in Caloundra on May 3, and is due to tender a report to Parliament on November 30.